Press-Republican

Wednesday

December 18, 2013

Pilot recreation trail in the works

MALONE — A pilot recreational trail will be created between Chateaugay and Malone, using easements obtained by the Franklin County Recreational Trails Association.

The project could be eligible for funding and may lead to a county-wide multi-use system within the next two to five years, officials say.

50 EASEMENTS SET

Chastity Miller, director of the county’s Soil and Water Conservation District, is coordinating the effort for the association. She said 50 private easements have been secured for the full-service trail so far.

Those parcels cover 250 to 300 acres, “but we have no trail laid out at this time because we do not have enough easements,” she said.

Those secured so far will allow the group to develop the pilot trail “because a majority of the easements are in the Chateaugay area,” Miller said.

The association knew that securing permission from property owners to allow outdoor enthusiasts to pass across their land would be a tough battle, but it is compounded in Franklin County because “we don’t have any forestland,” Miller said. “That’s why we’re working hard on the private easements.”

EYEING GRANTS

Gaining easements is a key to building the foundation for a full-fledged trail system that would be eligible for government programs.

“We’re funded with private donations and sportsmen’s clubs and are working with Franklin All-Terrain Riders, but we can’t get grants unless we have a trail plan,” Miller said, adding that St. Lawrence County was recently awarded $500,000 for trail development.

A pilot trail would be eligible for such grant funding, but she said the association first has to rough out a sketch showing where its existing easements are, find where adjacent easements are needed “to identify our holes” and then partner with the owners.

ACCESS, TRAIL WORK

The easement agreement gives the association access to map, plan and develop a trail system and permission to make minor changes to the land, such as moving rocks, dirt, stumps, trash, fallen trees or limbs and scrub trees.

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